Archives and Architecture

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We all work with one infinite power.” ~ from the book  The Secret 

One of the most magnificent of all museum buildings in America is often over-looked by tourists visiting the Nation’s Capital of Washington, DC. Many walk right by one of the most interesting Federal Buildings, not knowing what they are missing. The real secret attraction is the architecture inside! Fulfilling the need to know what else is in it, lies just inside the walls of the building. The magnificent structure  houses the Library of Congress. Add this Federal Building to your “must see list” of sites to visit next time you are in the surrounds of Washington, DC. 

The structure  is so large  that  it can contain 147 million volumes of cataloged books, music, newspapers, pamphlets, films, technical reports/journals, textbooks, artwork and other published material. It is a library so enormous that it takes up three buildings, all connected by underground passageways. The museum houses publications on an amazing maze of 838 miles of shelving.  

Not only does the Library contain volumes of books, film and sheet music, it is the “bank”for copyright protection and copyright registration, and it is home to the United States Copyright Office

The Library of Congress also includes a motion picture and television reading room, the Mary Pickford Theatre which hosts free screenings of contemporary and classic movies and TV shows.

In recent years, a whole different class of publications have been added to the cataloging system at the Library of Congress. A small but growing collection of archived books is now available on the internet through a library initiative called American Memories. Now, some very frail volumes of books, audio visual materials, manuscripts and maps dating back as far as 1400 have been digitized. For more information on the Library of Congress, please visit http://1.usa.gov/mhUZy2.

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The Allusive Treasure

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“The royal road to a man’s heart is to talk to him about the things he treasures most.” ~ Dale Carnegie

To a bibliophile, collecting rare books is a very serious matter. There was a time when collectors would drive all over the country pouring over cartons of old books piled high in dark, dingy, dusty attics, barns and shops. Great finds came from off the beaten path, and unexpected treasures were often found by just stumbling upon them. Today, through the power of the internet and e-commerce, locating that “prized” antiquarian book and other things of rare value are often just a few keystrokes away.

Serious bibliophiles are willing to pay very high prices for a book they have been searching for. Their reasons for collecting rare books are as eclectic as the publications that they collect. Some collectors buy strictly for the paper, vellum or parchment that the words are printed upon, others restrict themselves to the writings of a particular author, genre or field. Some bibliophiles even place  high value on unfinished pieces, in various stages of publication, such as advance review copies or galley proofs.

Abe  Books www.AbeBooks.com has reported some of their most expensive sales in 2010, and you will be greatly surprised to see that given this economy, rare book collectors have not lost their interest in paying top dollar for a much sought after publication. Here were the most expensive antiquarian book sales last month from Abe Books.

1- A collector paid $19,500 for an Ottoman Atlas containing 39 hand colored maps. The publication had been printed by the Royal School of Military Engineering in Istanbul.

2- A first edition copy of Titanic and Other Ships fetched $11,742 in the marketplace. What made  the book unique was that it had been signed by the Second Officer on the Titanic’s maiden voyage.

3- An antique version of “The Greatest Story Ever Told” – The Bible, reprinted according to the authorized version of 1611 sold for $7500. It was printed on unbleached rag paper.

As the Keno twins on Antiques Roadshow have proven time and time again, one never knows what treasures can be found in the abyss of the  most unlikely places. I have some antique cigar molds, darkened with age and tannin, that still reek of tobacco that I have put away for safe keeping. I often wonder if there is really any value to them.

 What do you have lurking in your basement, attic or garage that could be of great value of someone else?   Have you ever taken the time to explore what gifts you may have that could be of value to someone else?

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Antiquarian Advice

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“The finest eloquence is that which gets things done”~ David Lloyd George

Guess what I did? Purchased my first antiquarian book! Thanks to the internet, I located and purchased the book through e-commerce! Interesting thing is , I located the book through Abe Books in British Columbia, Canada, yet the book was published in 1952 in Baltimore, Maryland.

To get to the real point, I wanted this book because it was authored by my uncle, Dr. John C. Krantz, who was professor of pharmacology at the University of Maryland. In fact, he is the only published relative that I know of! Not only was he a brilliant medical research doctor, who was widely published in medical journals, he was also a wonderful storyteller!

My uncle, Dr. Krantz, was a pioneer in medical research, and in my opinion, he was also a pioneer in teaching others about the art of public speaking! Today, there are a plethora of books on the subjects of career coaching, public speaking and professionalism in the workplace but, when this book was published in 1952, I doubt many books on these topics existed.

The book, The Art of Eloquence: A Governor and Scientist Look at Public Speaking was co-authored with Governor Theodore R. McKeldin of Maryland. The forward of this book was written by Lowell Thomas, an American writer and broadcaster who made the film Lawrence of Arabia famous.

Dr. Krantz and Governor McKeldin cover such topics in their publication as public speaking on radio, stage, giving welcome speeches, commencement addresses, speeches of acceptance and even as a toastmaster using humor. Tips on things such as how to dress for success, enunciation and proper modulation of the voice, protecting your voice from the cold and the importance of women removing their hats prior to television appearances are covered.

As a child, I knew my uncle was a greatly respected man of high integrity and intelligence. In the prime of his career, I was just a child, so I never witnessed “Uncle John” making a speech. What I have discovered inside the covers of this book, are transcripts of many of the speeches he made throughout his life. My intentions are to sit down soon, and read each and every one and to learn. After all, you never know when you could be called upon to address a group of people!

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Once in a Blue Moon

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“The only thing you live to regret are the risks you didn’t take”~ Unknown

Today, I am feeling very fortunate. Since starting my company, I have had the opportunity to meet many incredible people that I would not have ordinarily met, had I not taken a risk. Among them have been extraordinarily talented artists, filmmakers, and individuals who serve their communities through the non-profit sector – all of them independent publishers. All have had similar goals – to share beauty, kindness and knowledge through their unique and creative talents.  All have been so very committed to changing our world for the better and each person is awe-inspiring in their very own way.

Tonight, as the New Year approaches, I will be taking some time to reflect on these past few years to remember some of the individuals that I have crossed paths with. Many of these individuals I have not met face to face, yet through an e-mail or a telephone conversation, they have left a mark on me. I can recall the discussions we have had about their goals and aspirations for their independent publishing companies. All have inspiring, educational or entertaining stories to tell through their books, films or music or through their commitment to a cause or a mission. All are the kinds of people you meet only once in a blue moon.

We want to hear from more of you! By posting your comments to our blogsite, we can together build a community of like-minded people who have independent thoughts, ideas and dreams to share.

Happy New Year 2010! May this coming year bring publishing success to each and every one of you!

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